John B. Reyna
Cheery Heering, don't worry it's not pickled
Cherry Heering recently celebrated its 200th birthday in 2018. Yet, it’s still all natural, using both sweet black cherries and botanicals to create a rich syrupy cherry flavor.
How it's made
This deep red liqueur is produced by soaking lightly crushed sweet Danish cherries and a secret blend of spices in a neutral grain spirit. It is then matured in a cask for up to 5 years, with sugar added during the aging process. It’s naturally colored deep ruby red by the cherries.
Unlike Maraschino cherry liqueur (Luxardo), which is also based around cherries, Cherry Heering is more like a sweet cherry brandy.
Peter Heering began making liqueurs in the early 1800s in Copenhagen, Denmark. He is most famous for his cherry brandy, which took on the name cherry Heering. He began his career working at a pharmacy, trying all sorts of tinctures and tonics. He made friends with his boss’s wife, who gave him her secret cherry cordial recipe. He embraced the potential of this delicious recipe, especially for the ladies, and began producing small batches. Peter officially started production in 1818, as he opened a small shop at age 26.
Peter, growing into a smart young businessman, started trading colonial goods within Copenhagen’s harbor. He made friends with many ship captains, and soon boats heading all over the world became stocked with what he called cherry cordial at the time. Quickly, word spread and people everywhere wanted a taste of this sophisticated Danish cherry liqueur. In 1833, Peter began purchasing his own fleet of ships to better control and monetize his exports. Cases were headed everywhere, from Brazil to Indonesia.
The Heering legacy
When Peter's son, also named Peter, took over in the 1870s, he exited the shipping business to focus on liqueur production. Steam ships had revolutionized worldwide trade, and demand exceeded his current ability to supply. In the early 1900s, the product was renamed to cherry brandy to better align with current palates.
In the 50s and 60s, now renamed Cheery Heering was the second best-selling liqueur in the US, after Benedictine. The Heering family continued to run the business throughout the 1900s.
After 182 years, the Peter F Heering company was finally acquired. In 1990, a larger, but local company, the Danish Distillers took control. They were then acquired again by V&S group in 1999, followed by the Tilander family in 2006. The Heering family remained involved until 2017 when the Cheery Heering product was acquired by De Kuyper.
And now, the cocktails!
2 oz seltzer
1 ½ oz London dry gin
¾ oz fresh lemon juice
¼ oz demerara syrup (or simple syrup)
½ oz Cherry Heering
¼ oz Benedictine
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 dash Orange bitters
Add seltzer to the bottom of a Collins or highball glass. Add the remaining ingredients to a cocktail shaker and add ice. Shake and strain into glass. Gently add ice to fill the remaining space in the glass.
There are many versions of the Singapore Sling served in all sorts of establishments from tiki to dive bars. There are a range of ingredients including lime, grenadine, and pineapple juice. Beware, many bars will serve it as simply as gin, sour mix, and grenadine.
Here, we follow Smuggler’s Cove's recipe. Not only is Smuggler's Cove arguably the best tiki bar in the US, the owners spent the time to test out many of the popular Singapore Sling recipes and settled on this one as their favorite. We agree, it’s the best Singapore Sling we’ve ever had.
Despite the cocktail's numerous variations, there is universal agreement that the Singapore Sling was created at the most luxury hotel in Singapore in the early 1900s. Ngiam Tong Boon worked as a bartender at the Raffle Hotel bar. He immigrated from China to train as a bartender in Vietnam. After setting into life in Singapore around the turn of the century, he created this play on a gin sling before his death in 1915. With the signature ruby color, early references called it a pink sling. Though likely targeted at women tourists, this drink remains popular 100 years later.
Remember the Maine
2 oz rye whiskey
3/4 oz sweet vermouth
1/3 oz of Cherry Heering
1/8 oz absinthe (or ½ teaspoon glass rinse, if you are new to absinthe)
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass. Fill with ice. Stir.
Strain the mixing glass contents into a chilled coupe.
This play on a Manhattan adds Cherry Heering in place of a small amount of the vermouth, a fun twist instead of adding a brandied cherry. It also replaces the use of bitters with the deliciously herbal absinthe.
This drink was first recorded in the famed Charles H. Baker Jr’s The Gentleman’s Companion from 1939. This two volume set discusses his eating and drinking adventures around the world, including the Pegu Club in modern day Myanmar.
Charles found the Remember the Maine cocktail in Havana in 1933. The name comes from a battle cry that helped kick off the Spanish-American war of 1898. The USS Maine sank mysteriously in Havana's port in 1898, which was controlled by Spain as the time (though may have also been a coal fire). The rally cry “Remember the Maine, to Hell with Spain" was used in newspapers across the US to jump start the war, which lead to Cuba's independence.
Many of you are likely asking, "But what about a Blood and Sand? Fair point. That is another classic Cherry Heering cocktail that I’ll be following up on soon. So keep an eye out for more Cherry Heering cocktails to pop up here or on our YouTube channel, Teakwood Tavern. Researching Cheery Heering provided a plethora of options. This deliciously sweet ingredient is used in many modern and classics alike.
Sending ruby love,